I was always curious if handmade soap lasted as long as commercially made bar soap. Well, my unofficial results are in and handmade bar soap lasted twice as long, but there is a down side.

Here are the stats on the fight:
Length of Use
Handmade - May 6th to August 6th
Commercial - August 7th to September 2nd
Winner - Handmade bar soap

Size of Bar Soap
Handmade - Hand cut, but at least 5oz
Commercial - box stated, 4oz
Winner - Handmade bar soap

Cost of Soap
Handmade - Given as a gift, but otherwise 2.50 a bar
Commercial - Pack of 8 (3.98), otherwise 49.75¢ a bar
Winner - Commercially made bar soap

Cost per year
Handmade - $15 for 6 bars of soap for the year
Commercial - 5.97 for 12 bars of soap
Winner - Commercially made bar soap

I love the idea of buying handmade bar soap from a small business as opposed to buying soap from a large manufacturing company. I love the natural ingredients I can read. And it does take some getting used to a bar of soap that doesn't suds up.

Overall, buying handmade soap (not including shipping or taxes) is almost 3x as expensive as buying the commercially made bar soap. However I have to weigh the cost against the value of buying locally, handmade and natural against that. What has more value to me.

Are you all about the cost or would spending more be worth it to you?

10 Comments

  1. Anonymous // Monday, September 13, 2010 7:50:00 AM  

    This was a very well timed post for me! I recently bought my first handmade bar of goat's milk soap for myself. I *love* it. It lathers nicely, smells great, and has been wonderful for my extremely sensitive skin. It's made me wonder how long handmade bar soaps last versus commercial types, if the shorter list of chemicals in the homemade version is better for me and the environment (probably), and if it'd be cost effective to learn how to make it myself. The idea of making a great big batch of nice handmade soaps to supply the household and give as gifts is pretty appealing!

  2. Matt Jabs // Monday, September 13, 2010 8:01:00 AM  

    Nice breakdown, I'm glad to see I'm not alone in valuing local economy and personal health more than cost alone. More American's need to adopt this philosophy... Especially if we want our economy to flourish again.

  3. Anonymous // Monday, September 13, 2010 8:45:00 AM  

    You can get some pretty simple commercially made soap, too--my mom gets glycerin soap from the dollar store.

    I have no problem with paying more to support a local business, so long as I can afford it, though. Sometimes I'm not so sure I can.

  4. Dawn // Monday, September 13, 2010 1:49:00 PM  

    @Anon-1
    I haven't tried one with Goat milk, I will have to get some, I like the suds

    @Matt Jabs
    Can't go wrong with locally bought, I made the mistake once, never again.

    @Anon-2
    That is another option as well at the dollar store. I see where it can cut into a budget at 2.50 a bar or higher (I've seen 6.50 a bar as well)

  5. BlessedBlogger // Monday, September 13, 2010 3:39:00 PM  

    Have you ever tried Soap nuts? I have a lot of allergies and chemical sensitivities so I've tried just about every soap on the market. I needed something cost effective, hypo-allergenic, all natural (no sodium lauryl sulfate!) and unscented. So I bought a sample pack to try and they are fabulous.

    My clothes are clean, softer and have NO scent. You can easily add your own scent with essential oils. They can be used to wash everything from laundry to pets to people. You can get a good price if you shop around online a bit.

    More info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapindus
    http://www.soap-nutstore.com/
    http://www.laundrytree.com/
    http://stores.buysoapnuts.com/-strse-Organic-Soap-Nuts/Categories.bok

  6. FindSavings // Monday, September 13, 2010 4:27:00 PM  

    I love the homemade soaps that are great for the environment. For some reason even though they have a slightly higher cost, they make my skin feel better and last a bit longer. I think depending on your situation will determine whether you value the outcome or the cost. Always great questions when it comes to so many things.

  7. Meg - Minimalist Woman // Tuesday, September 14, 2010 10:06:00 AM  

    Handmade soaps are one of my few luxuries in an otherwise frugal life. The scent & gentleness have tremendous restorative qualities for me, a little spa in a bar of soap :)

  8. Anonymous // Thursday, September 16, 2010 5:19:00 AM  

    I love the different varieties of scents and textures I can find buying local soap.

    There is one amazing lavender soap that is made locally and the extra cost is worth having an awesome smelling pick-me-up first thing in the morning.

  9. Bani pe net // Thursday, September 16, 2010 11:05:00 AM  

    havent tried yet but i ll give it a try soon

  10. Frugal Life UK // Saturday, September 18, 2010 10:47:00 AM  

    I love handmade soap and I make my own - see my blog tomorrow for a full tutorial as to how to make it. I make soap for 24p per bar and that's homemade solid castile soap that is mild, can be grated and added to washing soda to make laundry soap, or to wash anything at all. It's very very easy, quick and cheap to make and makes wonderful gifts too - love from Frugal Queen xxx